Professional conferences are a very conservative approach for training and education, forcing participants to take responsibility for getting value from the experience. The lectures, talks and panels might provide some new ideas. But these conferences are one-directional. The unique, personal, and insightful conversations with other people are more effective.
The professionals should invest time in connecting with other people. All events have ways to participate in the conferences. Anyone can submit a paper; panel some session idea or any workshop proposal. There is no effective way to meet others and access the most interesting than participating. Even if your submission is not accepted, you will have benefited. Because you will get comments from the experts on the review committee about your work and writing. Volunteering is an effective way for anyone to turn a dull event into a fun and engaging one.
Basically the informal conferences are short meetings where people agree to create a new alias for discussion. The sessions are often lecture based, which means a lot of sitting and listening. In general, panels are a wild card and often results in a bland experience for everyone involved. In some conferences, they have poster areas, where professionals put together summaries of their work for people to look at. Posters are a great thing to stroll through if the participants get bored in the other sessions.
Sometimes there are scheduled times for asking questions on the posters with the respective professionals. Posters have a short summary that appears in the proceedings. Some conferences have demo sessions, where each team gets some time for demonstrating a specific design or research project. At more academic conferences, there are paper sessions, where the authors of selected paper get a chance to talk for certain time about their paper. Most people do not learn anything when they are under stress. Hence, feel free and relax before going to the conference.